Today, we’re going to Italy! Hey, and not just everywhere, but in Milan – the fashion heart of Europe. But Milan is SO much mure than just fashion – and nobody knows more about that than the guys from the Ostello Bello Hostel (Facebook).
Travel-Hostel: First of all, thank you for taking the time to talk to us! Tell us a bit about yourself, the staff, nationality, mix of cultures, what keeps it going.
Ostello Bello: Right now we’re a big group of people from all over the world. The owners and starter employees were born and raised in Milano. As time passed by we’ve grown bigger and we got to work with people from everywhere. From Mexico to Bangladesh, passing through Poland and Lithuania we are getting as international as our guests are. We are pursuing a goal: to offer the typical italian hospitality in a multicultural atmosphere.
TH: How would you describe a regular day of the life – what you do, the different situations, what kinds of problems can there be… basically, what do you like and what you don’t like about what you do?
OB: It’s not that easy to describe “a typical day in Ostello Bello”. Milano is a touristic destination itself, but also and above all a is a gateway to the whole Italy, moreover with serveal low cost companies flying here, we have mostly short staying guests. It means every day different people, different stories, different situations.
In addition, being Ostello Bello’s bar hosting different events and very popular among local youth (not just youth, to be true), from happy hour time we find ourselves in a dense and mixed crowd composed of milanesi, expats and hostel’s guests. This helps to create a varied atmosphere which is very stimulating and funny for us who are working there. And we hope to our guests as well. On problems, luckily, we never really had here, since we are close to the city centre, area is very safe, and bar people not rude nor dangerous all. So even the classical “bar problems” are really on lowest standards.
TH: Wow, it’s amazing that you never have any significant problems, especially organizing events for such a diverse crowd! I guess this is what it comes down to being a good hostel. Speaking of, what makes a hostel a hostel – different from a hotel? Is it the spirit/concept, or just the smaller price range?
OB: The original idea of hostel is probably to be found in the need to save budget on sleeping. As easy as it gets backpacking became a way of travelling or even a lifestyle. What we offer is for sure a cheaper solution for those who need a bed in the centre of the city. But we all know people choose hostels because they like to meet other travellers. Here we push one step forward: we give a staff who has the same love for travelling and has the same will to communicate and share.
We are italian, hospitality is on our fingerprint. If you come to OstelloBello you will be hosted by a big family, no more no less 🙂
TH: That’s amazing, I love that! Personally, it’s exactly what I look for when I’m traveling to a hostel, and it’s quite rare that you see a staff with actual experience in traveling. But what about your other visitors?Do people usually go to Milan hostels or hotels? And why do you think this happens?
OB: Until few years ago Milano was mainly known for business, fashion, and trade banks. Hence did not offer as many sleeping solutions as other European capitals do. In the last few years the city is getting more open and lively, famous as nightlife hub and touristic destination. Milano is changing its image to the world, also, offering new solutions to travellers, giving them opportunity to discover its unexpected face. And we can proudly say to be part of this process!
TH: Yes, I think especially with the development of low cost airlines, that was bound to happen – especially as Milan is an amazing city, with many touristic options. But, whenever you go to a new city, you always find out some things only after you get there. Could you tell us your best insider tips for anyone who comes and visits the city?
OB: I will give a tip which is good everywhere: Pick a local, and follow him! Avoid two decks bus and taxi, use public transport to cross the city, then simply lose yourself walking in the centre. Hanging from Sempione, to Brera ending up to navigli for a drink, you won’t regret it.
TH: Estimate (on the spot, just estimate) an average 7 day trip to your city.
OB: Day 1 A walk in the city centre, the Duomo cathedral, the castle Sforzesco, Ticinese and Navigli Canals where youth gathers, express arts, live the nightlife, full of unique shops, in a typical Milano postcard scenery.
Day 2 Brera the former artistic district and its Pinacoteca, Corso Garibaldi, where the brand new skyscrapers meet the old city architecture. A drink there is a must.
Day 3 Enjoy flea market in Fiera di Sinigaglia, visit Triennale art and design museum, and rest in the park swarming among sporty people, and chilled ones (only on sunny seasons).
Day 4 Pay respect to San Siro temple of football and get to find ticked to Inter’s or Milan’s game. Check with your own eyes how fun could be your hostel from happy hour all night long.
Day 5 Wake up early and visit Santa Maria delle Grazie and Leonardo’s world famous Last Supper. Then go to Università Statale, pretend to be an Erasmus Student, and hook up with boys or girls (or both, up to you).
Day 6 A shopping marathon can be more than satisfying in Corso Buenos Aires, the longest shopping street in the country. And if you are brave enough, test yourself in Via Montenapoleone. Be careful price there are in the “sky’s the limit” category.
Day 7 A sunny day at Lago di Como, is worth 40 minutes on the railway to get there. A beautiful blue lake, surrounded by mountain scenery is waiting for you there.
TH: OK, I’m doing that! It sounds like such a dreamy vacation, I just have to try it! Tell us about your own experiences – the people you meet, the good and the bad. What is it that you learned, do you have any advice for travelers – or for other hostel managers?
OB: Experiences bad and good can be quite personal, let’s just say someone here found love and built a family. As a bad experience we’d pick a somnambulist guy who was speaking unknown language during his sleepwalk. It’s funny to think about, but at the moment it was quite strange.
People we meet here, as I said, can be various so anyone can find someone to get well along with. In this work we basically learn to forget predjudices. Really. As well for advices everyone is different and needs his one. Travellers, workers and managers. Infact we’re in costant search of new advices. But one for all, we have been given, and we happily give back to everyone is: be open, be honest. You’ll be rewarded.
TH: Do you happen to have any information about fake reviews (because apparently that’s a thing)?
OB: We heard about it too, and some people left on purpose bad reviews for personal reasons. But we think it’s easy, for a reader, to spot a fake, its that one who says the opposite of all the others.
TH: What do you like to do on vacation and why?
OB: Might be surprising: during our vacation we love to travel!
TH: Any other information/share/shutouts etc that you’d like us to know.
OB: Come to stay at Ostello Bello first drink is on us!
TH: Hehe, we just might take you up on that offer! Hey, and don’t worry, we’ll take our drinks to the bar 😉